Monday, November 21, 2011

Posting on Forums

Online chat forums are a great way to help attract attention to your blog.  However, in order for this to be effective, you have to be prepared to make a long-term commitment.

The first instinct for a lot of new bloggers is to think "Hey! I have this great new book review blog!  I'm going to sign up for every single book/reading forum and post my link!  Then everyone will click on the link and I'll have the most popular blog ever!"  Save yourself some effort:  don't do this.  For several reasons:

1.  You are not the first person to think this.  It's been done before.  When it's done in excess it's called spam.

2.  Even if you have good intentions, your post will be written off as spam since the veteran forum members will only register that you're a brand new poster and trying to make a sales pitch.  They'll ignore you.

3.  In doing this, you risk alienating people and you lose the true, long-term (and much more valuable) benefits of posting on forums.

Ok, so let's get into those long-term benefits.

The first step is to find forums that interest you.  Don't feel like you have to join forums that are directly related to your blog.  What makes online forums fun is that they attract people that share a single interest but those same people also have other interests.  It's how you learn.

Once you sign up for a forum or two that looks like you could actively participate in, it's important that you set up your profile and signature.  Your profile is what people on the forum see when they click on your name.  Most forums give you the option to list your name and a website.  This is a really good opportunity to post the link to your blog.  The signature (not every forum allows them) appears underneath every single forum post that you make.  This is an even better way to share you blog link.  The profile and the signature will do the sales-pitch for you.  That's the beauty of forums.

The final step is just to interact with the other forum members actively.  That means you need to post at least once a day.  You have to make a concerted initial effort to become a regular member on the forum.

Why put all this work into a forum?

1.  Once you become a regular member, people will be more open to you sharing links to your blog.  They know you're not just a one-hit spammer and could be interested enough in you to see what your blog has to say.

2.  As you become online friends with the other members, there is a really, really good chance that they will start to recommend your blog to other people; especially if your blog targets a niche audience.  Word of mouth recommendations are everything if you're a blogger.

So go out there and get social!

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